Sorry, this is not fake news.
Long before I knew him, my guy Mike was a newspaper guy. All the way back to the days he was in elementary school, Mike worked on newspapers, at least he did before he came to Seattle. Me, I haven’t had much use for newspapers since my house-breaking stage. Even that didn’t take long, as I recall it some 60 dog years later (although I sometimes tend to glorify my puppy prowess a bit).
But even I have noticed that newspapers are shrinking. While Mike notices newspapers have fewer pages, fewer writers and fewer editors, and make more mistakes, what I noticed as this shrinkage progressed was that the plastic bags that the papers arrive in have gotten progressively smaller. This affects me because those newspaper bags enjoy a second life as conveyors of my poop, safely enclosing and transporting it from ground to garbage can or other approved receptacle. Mike and Heather always use newspaper bags for this purpose, so when Mike realized he could barely get his hand inside a recent bag arrival, we decided to conduct research. Let me lay it out for you!
We tested Seattle Times bags from 2017 and current editions. The bag color has changed, making it easy to tell the various iterations apart. All the bags measured 21 1/2 inches long, but the width varied. The off-white Sunday bags (lowest in the photo above) held steady at 8 inches wide, but the older green bags for the daily paper were 7 inches wide, and the current orange bags (love the color, which almost matches my collar!) measures a measly 5 3/4 inches wide. That’s barely wide enough space to fit Mike’s hand in, and he’s got dainty little mitts! He complains that the current bags are barely big enough to pick up a couple of my Tootsie Roll-size nuggets and leave enough plastic to tie them closed. And nobody wants to get stuck using two bags for one deposit.
Sadly, those bigger newspapers are not coming back, and if the papers shrink much further, Mike might have to start using the billowy bags from the supermarket produce section, a decidedly less attractive alternative. But as long as the newspaper bags remain viable, , I thought it would be a good time to review Mike’s preferred method for creating poop bags out of the newspaper wrapping. Start by smoothing the bag on a flat surface to get full expansion. Then pick it up and tie a simple knot, right in the middle. Then use a scissor to cut the bag just below the knot, creating two smaller bags that are closed at one end and open at the other.
Having a hard time figuring it out? Check out the photos.
Before signing off, I’d like to throw a bone to Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos…his Washington Post is holding steady with the 7-inch bag, biodegradable to boot. Maybe he’ll find some spare change in his couch and buy a few more newspapers.